Pan-Seared Snapper with Paella-Style Quinoa

Anthony Dawodu

Caneel Bay, A Rosewood ResortSt. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

At his 2010 Beard House dinner, Anthony Dawodu served this simply prepared fish with a Spanish-style quinoa. The dish is a wonderful meal for the first days of fall.


  • 1 1/2 pounds snapper fillets, cut into 3-ounce portions
  • 4 tablespoons chopped shallots, divided
  • Canola oil as needed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, plus extra for seasoning snapper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 2 dozen mussels
  • 2 dozen littleneck clams
  • White wine as needed
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups water


Set aside 1 teaspoon thyme. Coat the snapper with 2 tablespoons of the shallots and the remaining thyme. Let the fish sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.

Heat some oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Sauté the red peppers, green peppers, and zucchini until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat. Turn off the heat and mix in the scallions, basil, remaining thyme, and parsley. Set aside.

Wash the mussels and clams under running cold water and drain. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mussels and deglaze the pot with some white wine. Cover the pot and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mussels open. Using a pair of tongs, transfer the mussels to a colander to drain. Repeat with the last tablespoon of shallots and the clams. When cool enough to handle, remove the mussels and clams from their shells. Discard the shells.

Heat about 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Toast the quinoa until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Mix the sautéed vegetables, clam meat, and mussel meat into the quinoa.

Heat a little oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Sear the fillets skin side down in the pan for 3 minutes. Flip and cook until finished, about 3 more minutes.

To serve, place some quinoa on a plate and top with a piece of fish.


8 to 10 servings